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A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

    Copyright 2004 Times Publishing Company
    St. Petersburg Times (Florida)

    April 21, 2004 Wednesday 2 Late Tampa Edition

    SECTION: TAMPA & STATE; Pg. 3B

    LENGTH: 684 words

    HEADLINE: Films evoke memories of passionate young artist

    BYLINE: ERNEST HOOPER

    BODY:

    One story was about a werewolf at her window, covered in fire. Another told
    of a crowing bird that at night sounded evil and wicked, like it belonged to a
    witch.

    These were uncommon stories for a second-grader to write, and they were a
    clear indication there was something uncommon about Cedar Rosenfield. She wrote,
    she drew, she danced and except for one fleeting first-grade moment when she
    refused to take the stage as the Mad Hatter, she embraced acting with all the
    fury of, well, a werewolf on fire.

    "Cedar was just an incredibly talented child," said Merry Rosenfield, who
    raised Cedar with her husband, Ed. "We wanted her to do whatever she wanted to
    do, and what that happened to be was pursue a career in the arts."

    Cedar was homeschooled for the most part and raised without television, but
    she and her brother David created their own comedic skits. Before she could
    write, Cedar would dictate stories to David.

    Early on, doctors diagnosed her with a heart murmur, but it wasn't an
    overwhelming concern for someone with so much energy.

    Cedar's boundless enthusiasm would lead to her taking ballet and tap lessons
    three times a week. By 15, she had graduated early from high school (as the
    valedictorian), wrote her first screenplay and acted in local theatrical
    productions near the Rosenfield home in Northern California.

    Eventually, she would develop an interest in film acting and writing. When
    the Rosenfields moved to Clearwater in 1998, Cedar changed her last name to
    Bennett and began her acting career in earnest with Wild Heart Films, a local
    independent film company.

    "She could do Shakespeare like it was normal," said Mandy Wildman, producer,
    director and Wild Heart co-owner. "It's almost like she had been there. She was
    strikingly mature for her age but still a teenager, still a young girl."

    In four years with Wild Heart, Cedar would appear in five films, three
    features and two shorts. A screenplay she entered into the esteemed Matt
    Damon/Ben Affleck Project Greenlight contest finished in the top 150, out of
    10,000 entries, Merry Rosenfield said.

    Cedar was on her way. Nothing would slow her passion for acting, not even her
    ailing heart. Remember that murmur? Turns out it was hypertrophic
    cardiomyopathy.

    The prognosis was grim. Doctors told her she could die suddenly but gave her
    permission to continue acting and dancing. Cedar carried on, speaking little of
    her condition and much about the importance of young people following their
    artistic dreams. With parents pushing their children toward lucrative positions
    and society littered with diversions, the arts are not always an easy pursuit
    for kids.

    "It would drive her nuts when she saw young people doing drugs, being lazy,
    watching TV for hours and not doing what they wanted to do," Merry Rosenfield
    said. "She felt like young people should be pursuing their dreams and helping
    society."

    Cedar, who died at the age of 20, chased her dreams to the very end. Two
    weeks before her death in October of 2001, she filmed an extremely physical
    scene for one of Wildman's movies in which she had to fight with a man.

    The film was two weeks ahead of schedule.

    "You could go crazy, you could kill yourself or you could continue living,"
    Merry Rosenfield said. "Going on was the only real choice. We couldn't bow down
    to the grief. Cedar wouldn't have wanted that."

    Now Ed and Merry Rosenfield are chasing the dream for Cedar. At this weekend
    's fourth annual Tambay Film Festival, which begins Friday at the Channelside
    Cinemas, the Cedar Bennett Foundation will present the inaugural Cedar Bennett
    Young Filmmakers Award.

    Both Merry Rosenfield and Mandy Wildman say the entries are remarkable for a
    group of teens largely untrained in filmmaking. Like Cedar's life, the messages
    are positive and uplifting.

    Merry described the process of reviewing the entries as therapeutic. She felt
    like Cedar was watching with her.

    "Somehow, I think she helped with the process."

    Somehow, I think Merry is right.

    That's all I'm saying.
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

    So...did she have an ICD? Is this a story about a wonderful young person who had to die so young or is it a story about the tragedy of less than optimal medical care? sue

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

      Sue, I can't tell from the story, but I'd guess that the story is about both. She was obviously an exceptional young woman but she may not have had the best medical care either. I'm sorry her family lost so much.

      Reenie
      Reenie

      ****************
      Husband has HCM.
      3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

        I will not give specific comments about her health - but I will say I think her death was tragic and I am very sorry to hear of it.

        Lisa
        Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
        YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

        Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
        lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
        Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
        Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
        Currently not obstructed
        Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

          Yes it is always sad to hear of anyone dieing, but it sure sounds like she lived life the way she wanted to, god bless her and her family

          Shirley
          Diagnosed 2003
          Myectomy 2-23-2004
          Husband: Ken
          Son: John diagnosed 2004
          Daughter: Janet (free of HCM)

          Grandchildren: Drew 15,Aaron 13,Karen 9,Connor 9

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

            I couldn't agree more. It is unfortunate to hear of a young person dying. It seems as though an ICD would have prevented this death?!? But regardless, it's refreshing to hear she lived life to the fullest while she was with us. Sounds like she lived more in her short stay here on earth than many live in a "full" lifetime.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

              I’m sorry. The price we pay for living is dieing. I can’t get too worked up about that. If however her life was shortened because of insufficient medical care I would find that tragic. From the story it sounds like she was well aware of her condition and chose to live her life to the very best she had to offer, and I find that uplifting.

              To misquote Shakespeare, “It is better to have lived and lost then never to have lived at all.”
              Burt

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A loss and a wonderful woman remembered...Cedar

                Makes worry about Florida health care even more. How many must suffer before something is done.

                Mary S.

                Comment

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